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Examine some aspect of Plato's theory of the tripartite soul from Plato's Republic - Essay Example

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Examine some aspect of Plato's theory of the tripartite soul from Plato's Republic

The main objective of this study is to exhaustively tackle this paramount issue by proposing three views: first of all, Plato’s account of the soul would not have committed him to the view that within each part of the soul there are sub-divisions; secondly, the harmony and unity of the soul cannot be achieved by conversation and violence, but only through education. Lastly, by exploring Plato’s education program in The Republic, it is clearly evident that education is the fundamental means of bringing the three parts into harmony and thus makes them one rather than many (8). In the Republic, Plato strongly proposes that the human psyche is divided into three parts mainly appetite, spirit and reason. Through the use of the tripartite soul theory, Plato effectively gives an account on how man can be virtuous. A man who is virtuous is one whose three parts of his soul participate in their appropriate and efficient roles and they are in harmony with each other. It is clear that the paramount concept of order is not only fundamental to the just state but also to the just man. In Plato’s view, the just man cannot be acknowledged without referring to his harmonious and orderly soul. Therefore, the human virtue is dependent on how these psychological elements which are three can harmoniously interact with each other (17). The Tripartite Soul In order to elaborate that people perform each of the three functions with different parts of their soul, Socrates puts forward a principle that “one and the same thing cannot act or be affected in opposite ways at the same time in the same part of it and in relation to the same object”. This principle is referred to by scholars the Principle of Conflict or Principle of Opposites. In accordance to this principle, it is impossible for something to be at rest and in motion at the same time and in the same part of it. Plato deals with two probable objections to this principle to remove any ambiguities in using it. One is that it is wrong to say that a man, who is standing still and moving his hands, is at rest and in motion simultaneously. Rather, the statement should be that part of the man is standing still and another part of him is moving. The other one is that a spinning top whose circumference is in motion, but whose axis is at rest is moving in one respect but not in another. Plato at this juncture thinks that this noble principle is valid and thus goes on to use it in order to exhibit that there are three parts in the soul (22). Plato states that dissent and assent, aversion and impulse to something are opposite states or actions. Thus, thirst, hunger and appetite desires can be classified as impulses to drink and food. Consequently, man is sometimes unwilling to eat or drink yet he is hungry or thirsty. Thus, according to the Principle of Opposites, there is an element which is different from the one that drives people to crave for food or drink, preventing people from craving it. The element preventing people from giving way to various unhealthy cravings is reason (39). Additionally to the function of prevention, characterization of reason by Plato is through numerous different ways. Reason is said to be the calculative or reflective element. It is also ...Show more
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Name: Instructor: Course: Date: Plato’s Theory of the Tripartite Soul from Plato’s Republic Plato (428-348 BC) was evidently one of the greatest and most influential Greek philosophers. He was the teacher of Aristotle and a disciple of Socrates. Majority of Plato’s works are written in the form of dialogues and a lot of them featur Socrates as the main character, who founded the Academy of Philosophy…
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